BlackBerry Application Development Tips
Part of the BlackBerry All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet
Developing apps can be a challenging experience. You not only have to figure out what to build and write the code, you have to deploy and market your BlackBerry app. Here are some helpful tips to get you started in the right direction:
Start with a simple app. Get your feet wet with a simple application that illustrates the capabilities of the BlackBerry platform. You'll gain insights to whether developing BlackBerry apps is the right move for you.
Check RIM's sample applications. RIM's Developer's Web site is a goldmine of resources. Download and try the sample applications. You'll likely find most of the code you need for your app in one of the sample apps.
Browse and search the public forums. There's a vibrant developer's community on the Internet. Many of the questions and issues you'll encounter while developing a BlackBerry app have likely been experienced by others. Here are two communities to try: RIM's Developer's Web site and CrackBerry's forums.
Join a developer community. Aside from a virtual developer's community, local groups regularly meet and share their experiences. Start with the Facebook Developer community page to find a local group near you.
Attend the BlackBerry Developer's Conference. Each year, RIM holds a Developer's Conference in San Francisco, California. Although you'll spend a decent amount of money and time at this conference, you'll learn a lot from experts and veteran developers. Plus, you'll get a better understanding of where the BlackBerry platform is going.
Test your app on multiple devices, multiple OSes, and both CDMA and GSM/GPRS/EDGE/3G networks. The most tedious and expensive part of the process before you deploy a commercial app is testing. Be sure you try all the major combinations of models, OSes, and networks. Finding problems once an app is already released to the public could cost you a lot of support time and aggravations.
Open a beta period. Before you decide to sell your app, make sure you address all the kinks. Most of the problems surface when you have a decent number of users. By giving out your app during a beta period, you'll receive feedback, both good and bad. Your users at this time are more patient with problems than on an app that they paid for.
Leverage the enthusiasts' community. CrackBerry, BlackBerryCool, and BlackBerry Forums are a few BlackBerry enthusiast sites that you can use to market your app. A mention on these sites will bring you many users.